SAGE-Karnataka (South Against Genetic Engineering) staged a protest against adoption of genetic engineering in food crops here on Sunday.

The protest was a part of the State-wide agitation launched by the forum opposing genetically modified crops in the country.

Members of the forum staged the protest with the slogan: “Andu Uppu Indu Beeja” (Salt Then Seed Now). Organic farmer L. Narayana Reddy took part in the Satyagraha and inaugurated a year-long agitation.

Over 25 organisations, including ICRA, Era Organic, OFAI-K, Green Foundation, Bhoomi Network, Pristine Organics, Svaraj and Samvada, are part of the agitation, the organisers said.

Dr. Reddy, who inaugurated the campaign, said the Seed Bill 2010 is an attempt to snatch away from farmers the sovereignty they had over seeds.

Fields have become toxic due to excessive use of chemicals and genetically modified seeds, he said.

Now, companies have developed 29 genetically modified vegetables which are ready for release.

The development took place flouting the law of land, he said.

If the seeds are released, it will jeopardise food and fodder availability as well as result in devastation of the biodiversity, Dr. Reddy said.

P. Babu, convener of SAGE-Karnataka, said that the campaign, which was formally launched on Sunday, will see participation from interested groups, farmers and concerned citizens from various walks of life from across the State in the coming days.

Though the recent moratorium on Bt Brinjal is a boost to the anti-genetically modified food campaign, it is too fragile, he said. Seed replacement ratio is not significant and farmers' seed sovereignty should be protected and taken forward, he said.

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